Effort begins to keep Philly residents in town for DNC

Mayor Kenney is worried that Philadelphia residents will flee the city during next month’s Democratic National Convention. Frankly, a Godzilla attack couldn’t get me to leave the city after three months in Little Rock.

godzilla-attacks
If cheesesteaks aren’t your thing, there are several Subways that might have something you like.

I didn’t flee when the Pope came to town. An upside of a visit from an old man in a silly hat and a dress who talks to an imaginary friend in sky was a Center City without cars. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and handicapped people enjoyed spreading out and owning the streets. Oh, and by the way…

Fuck the Pope for sticking Philly residents with the bill, for hosting the anti-gay World Meeting of Families, and for sounding diversity-minded but maintaining all the hateful policies that make the church a scourge on a modern society.

That said, bring on the events and discounts and protests and inevitable drama of the convention itself. I think everybody’s going to need a drink after Hillary and Bernie have it out on the convention floor…

City officials are launching an effort to keep residents from fleeing Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention next month.

Source: Effort begins to keep Philly residents in town for DNC

‘Because I love hating people’ and other contradictions to live by

Oh, Internet, you make it so easy for me to express my inner self through links and haiku-length compositions. That realization about myself yesterday made me think today about the collection of contradictions and impulses curated in my brain.

This early sketch from the Tracy Ulman Show is one of my favorites. I can identify with Kavner’s anxious enthusiasm while reciting her escalating litany of phobias. It may also explain one of the reasons I so rarely use public toilets.

After a year of more-or-less Vulcan stoicism, it got me to thinking about those fundamental, illogical, contradictory impulses that are so enjoyable, like putting on my Team Pessimist or Mister Worst Case Scenario hat.  The pleasure comes from two things: First is the creative, intellectual pleasure of generating all the possible pitfalls and booby-traps and for-the-worst plot turns. Second, getting to the wildly improbable worst cases makes the probable mundane ones more tolerable.

Aside from actually not liking overly-sunny days (at best they make me sleepy), the near-perfect first Garbage album gave me a theme song for that impulse to laugh out loud when the wind drives rain (and hopefully soon snow) in my face. That first moment of discomfort gives way to something comical about the magnificence of the elements unleashed versus my peevishness about them. No use spitting in the wind about it, so why not just laugh?

I can’t mention Garbage without thinking–and in this case linking–to my all-time favorite Garbage song. It’s touches on my primal need to “embrace the strange” at the intersection of IDIC and NIN. And my wildly-associative brain loves the meme-mashing and old movie references. And Shirley Manson as singer or T-1001 terminator is simply magnificent.

Put another way, OKCupid asks, “Would you rather something good or something interesting happen?” For me, it’s 100% about Interesting. What’s usually interesting? Strange is.

Finally, in honor of Roy Batty’s incept date a few days ago, there is his absolute glee at Deckard thrashing him with a lead pipe and his wry comment after: “That was irrational of you… not to mention unsportsmanlike.” The unarmed Deckard is no longer a real threat to Batty–both of them know it–but it touches on a shared feeling that will later lead to unexpected mercy.  If I ever say “That’s the spirit!” to you, that’s what’s playing in my head, probably along with a sense of “NOW you’re getting it!”

Here’s to a rainy, interesting, strange, spirited 2016!

Earworms And The Dangers Of Being Only Human

I was having brunch with a friend last weekend, and somewhere in the background that day I heard “Mirror Man” by Human League. It’s not my favorite Human League song (although it is in my library), but it promptly got stuck in my head. This earworm lasted about five days, and it even kept me up one night. I am not exactly sure when or how it ended, and I’m afraid to think too much about it for fear of it recurring. The odd thing is, I can’t even remember the exact snippet now, a handful of days later.

Research points to earworms being a result of some kind of interruption of the task completion mechanism our brains use to manage working memory. I happened upon this video which does a nice job with the subject:

I’d been working mostly on legal documents at the time, and my sneaking suspicion is that it ended when I got back around to coding. I’ve tried things like looking up the lyrics and playing the song on repeat for as long as it takes, which makes sense given some of the ideas in the video, but it didn’t work this time. My hypothesis is that the song got linked to some other task, perhaps the coding task that was on my mind; the earworm was more a parasite of the task on my mind than my mind itself, and it didn’t die until the host task was completed. Given the vicious nature of my last earworm, I am looking forward to putting some of remedies suggested in the video to the test next time.

Sometimes, I hate my brain.

At your own risk …

You are a sociopath. :)

“Putting smiley faces at the end of every statement where you claim not be to a racist isn’t terribly convincing.” — me in LOTRO world chat

smiley-faceI try to avoid responding to obvious trolls in game world chats, but one troll in particular when called on his trollishness by others started putting smiley faces at the end of every statement “to lighten the mood”. I had to call it out for what it was. This deliberate miscommunication ploy annoys me more than overly-cheerful people using endless streams of emoticons who are sometimes equally overly-emotive in person. (The latter annoy me greatly and tend to also be morning people, annoying me even more.)

Emoticons evolved out of a real need in online communications to keep the spontaneity of chat while filling in some missing cues that might be obvious in a face-to-face or telephone conversations. My rule of thumb is to use them where I would actually emote in person, laugh or smile or make some kind of semi-rude gesture.

Lately though they are misused as a calculated form of plausible deniability, an emotional manipulation that most of the people using them couldn’t pull off in person. Imagine those emoticon-laden conversations as if they were face-to-face. Imagine that person–any person–emoting that much face-to-face and doing it immediately after saying hurtful or ignorant things. Imagine how you would react to that person. What would you think of that kind of insincere emotional manipulation?

You’d think that person is a sociopath.

Obviously online communication is different than face-to-face, but I disagree with people who characterize it as “not real life”. There are real people at the ends of both kinds of conversations, and those conversations both convey information and alter emotional states in participants. That sounds real to me.

It used to be that relatively normal people in real life would come off as rude and awkward in online conversations because they had no idea of the tone of what they were writing. Many flamewars at work and on the Internet as a whole started that way. This new behavior feels different,  like a kind of social engineering around the slack we learned to cut people because of how common online miscommunication is.

In this particular case, I think people lacking the ability to be talented sociopaths face-to-face enjoy a kind of sociopathetic liberation behind walls of text. I think we need to recognize that and treat them accordingly.

 

 

Drones Over Philly

Although I have mixed feelings about unmanned aerial vehicles as weapons or hobbies, some of the footage they produce is amazing. Here are three from the Philly area:

The first buzzes around 30th Street Station area and Center City. I particularly like the footage of the Tholian Embassy Cira Centre and the new nearby Tholian Annex Evo at Cira Center South. From the footage, I discovered the latter has a great roof deck facing west including an infinity pool.

Then there’s this footage of the Delaware Station Power Plant, an eerie abandoned industrial site north of the city that I’ve seen from afar many times. I would totally put my evil lair here if I were to go the super-villian route; those smoke-stacks would make great ICBM launchers, and I can make a classy speed-boat escape if my lair is discovered.

Finally, the Art Museum in snow is perhaps too short and misses a chance to buzz the Waterworks and boathouse row. But … because SNOW!

My Favorite #Futurama Scene

Roswell That Ends Well is Futurama at the top of its game, winning the series its first Emmy. It’s also the first time the show broke its own rule prohibiting time travel,  and it was certainly justified given the results.

How can you do sci-fi without time travel paradoxes?

You can’t.

And here’s why:

 

This particular sequence feels like an actual movie with the way it’s cut and how it handles reaction shots. One little thing I particularly enjoy is Leela’s silent, stern, disapproving stare following Fry around the last scene as his logic–even sanity–collapses around him.